Around 1,000 DMDK workers desert Vijaykanth, join AIADMK

A week after a fiery exchange of words between Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and Leader of Opposition Vijayakanth in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, around 1,000 DMDK functionaries and workers, including the actor-politician's close friend Ibrahim Rowther joined the ruling AIADMK on Tuesday.

Among the other notables who joined the Jayalalithaa-led party include trade unionist K. Velmurugan, who unsuccessfully contested the Chennai Mayor post as the DMDK candidate in last October civic polls.

Rowther is a film producer and is credited with playing an instrumental role in promoting Vijayakanth's film career by producing many films with the actor in the lead. He was also seen as a close aide of Vijayakanth.

The DMDK functionaries and workers joined the AIADMK in the presence of Jayalalithaa who wished them a 'bright future.'

"The hope with which you have joined the AIADMK will not go waste," she said after handing over them the membership cards.

The defection by the functionaries including DMDK's Election Wing Secretary K. Jegavaeerapandian, comes in the wake of last week's verbal clash involving Jayalalithaa and Vijayakanth at the end of which she had expressed 'regret' over joining hands with the seven year-old DMDK.

While she was not inclined for a tie-up with DMDK, she did so only following her party workers' demand, she had said adding AIADMK would have come out triumphant in the April 2011 elections even in the absence of the then ally.

A war of words had ensued with Vijayakanth insisting that it was the AIADMK which was keen on an alliance for the polls which not only saw the DMK being thrown out of power but making DMDK the main Opposition, a status Jayalalithaa said was achieved by virtue of being her party's ally.

Several members of other parties including DMK and CPI also joined the AIADMK on Tuesday.

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